Made it out a couple times in the mudfield quagmire that is NC Ohio right now. Iím dealing with some health things so my swing hasnít been in the least bit pretty. Iím a story teller so Iíll eventually get to my point, if you care to read on....
So to start, I played competitively 20ish years ago. At one point I was a +2.2 at my best. Never near good enough to even think about going pro (although it crossed my mind-until I played regularly with a guy that was trying to get on the senior tour and he was so much better than me it wasnít funny-and he never made it on the SENIOR tour). Started looking at raising a family and golf tapered off into an almost never thing, until it was a never thing for almost 10 years.
So I came back to the game about 5 years ago. First round back I shot a 69* -2. Aided by a few things Iíll get to later and a legit HIO on a short par 4. Going -3 on a hole tends to help the final score, lol. Played a lot of golf around par until last season. Sure I still had the occasional blowup round that was embarrassing where nothing went right but in general I was anywhere from -3 to 5 over*
Ok, to the asterisks. I wasnít playing legitimate golf. I fluffed every lie. Iíd take a Mulligan here and there if I lakeíd one or hit it OOB. Never more than one a 9 for sure, but that can be 4 strokes. Per nine. Chopping out of thick rough versus having a perfect fluffed lie, another stroke to 2 every time. I thought I was still a scratch to plus golfer. Heck, I was just out to have fun. I actually liked being in the rough when I played this way, lol. Itís not penal when you can basically tee it up:)
So beginning of last season I bought an Albatross Club membership here. Mainly so that I could enter for a chance to win one of many ďonce in a lifetimeĒ type golf trips that are offered here. With doing so, I figured I better start playing by the rules and establish an official HC since most all events are handicapped. I very rapidly went from a ďscratchishĒ type golfer to a 6.something. An end of the season slump has me currently at an 8.8. Golf is hard with no mulligans and playing by the rules. Pretty dang easy when you fluff every lie.
So to start this season, I have 2 nines of basically even par*. Iíd take that to be encouraging except the fact that itís so muddy here and the only course that will let us on it is closed, so we have to play LCP. Heck, half of our shots plug and thereís little grass around so you find a small clump close to where your ball is and set it (I.e. tee it up) on that. Iíve played par golf hitting no more than 4i off the tee (short course anyways, only 6k yards tipped out). Iíve hit 80%+ FIR and almost 100% GIR. Throw in half the greens we give ourselves a 2 putt max due to sticks being on them everywhere and itíd be difficult for me not to shoot around par.
So what does that tell me? Am I better than last year? Not likely. Iíve hardly swung a club in 4months. It tells me Iím a damn good golfer if I can fluff every lie. If every lie is like hitting off of a tee, yeah Iím a golfing force.
In reality Iím somewhere around a 6-8 HC. Playing by the rules can be a real buzzkill. If I throw in a mulligan a round and fluffing every lie, I go from a 6-8 HC to a scratchish golfer. Heck, Iím probably even there just by fluffing every lie. I havenít missed a green yet this season from inside 150 yards fluffing every lie. Itís even been windy as all get out. Usually 150 is a hard GW or a medium PW. Iíve hit a few 7i from there (moon balls plague me). But with perfect lies, Golf is so much easier.
I golf frequently with my dad. Heís a mid 90ís golfer. Playing as I stated above with the ďpreferableĒ lies. When I played the same as him I gave him a stroke a hole and we were about equal. Last year he took joy in beating me most rounds. Me playing by the rules, him playing how he enjoys it (heck I even enjoy that more, but I want to be legit if I can get into an event). I didnít play very well last year, especially at the end of it, but I also played 100% by the rules when posting rounds.
I just wanted to point out from my perspective how different scoring is when you play by the rules versus teeing up (basically) every shot. It was a stark reminder when due to conditions (outside of posting season) how I went from an 8 HC to basically scratch just from giving myself good lies every shot.
TLR- By improving every lie I can cut off 8ish strokes a round. Golf is easy when every ball is teed up.